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Funded in part by a grant from TexTreasures and by the UT Arlington Library.

Diana Flores

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(112 pages)

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Diana Flores was born in the Gulf Coast town of Palacios, Texas in 1951. She graduated from high school in 1969 and attended Texas A&I - Kingsville where she joined the Political Association of Spanish-speaking Organizations (PASSO). She moved to Dallas in 1979 and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Dallas Baptist University in 1994. She worked for El Centro Community College where she also served as president of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) Support Staff Council. She was named DCCCD Employee of the Year in 1992 and was elected to the Dallas County Community College District board of trustees in 1996. She worked for the University of Texas at Arlington Center for Mexican American Studies and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Education Service Center (LNESC) prior to making an election bid for the Texas House of Representatives. After her unsuccessful campaign for the state seat, she worked with the Center for Human Rights. At the time of the interview she was active in the National Community College Hispanic Council of the Association of Latino Community College Trustees, a member of the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE), and a founding member of the People United for Representation and Equality (PURE). In 2009, she was working as Project Director for the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Small Business Transportation Resource Center-Gulf Region, a member of the Hispanic Women's Network of Texas (HWNT), and still a member of the DCCCD board of trustees.

Interview Summary:

Diana Flores discusses the political environment between the Hispanic and African American communities in Dallas and lists off a number of Hispanic groups representing the wide variety of Latin American nationalities. She furnishes details of her family's background in Palacios, Texas, and their work in the shrimp industry on the Gulf Coast. She talks about her experiences with school integration and race discrimination and points to her father's involvement in the Political Association of Spanish-speaking Organizations (PASSO) and his election bid for constable as triggering her own political interests. She comments on her involvement in Vietnam War protest marches and in the Chicano movement through marches and the guerilla theater group, Teatro Atahualpa de la Quineña. She discusses living in Houston during her first marriage and divorce, her children from that marriage, and a time she once considered an abortion. She blames her stormy marriages and divorces for their adverse effect on her children and attributes her son's gang involvement to the start of her volunteer work with the City of Dallas Gang Intervention Program. She describes how she worked with a group of women in Oak Cliff to form the Mothers Against Gangs in Crime (MAGIC) and thanks Marciela Vargas for leading her to the Hispanic Youth Summit which brought about the Latino Cultural Center with the help of Barbara Gonzalez and the Office of Cultural Affairs. She shares her interest in the work of the Grupo de Apoyo para Immigrantes Latino Americanos (GAILA) in lobbying the Mexican government to consider dual citizenship/dual nationality as a means of dealing with immigration issues, and discusses Luís de la Garza's participation in GAILA. She notes the importance of the Hispanic Summit conferences held in Dallas during the 1990s and elaborates on the charges of misappropriation of funds and accusations of political campaigning on university time by the University of Texas at Arlington against her and José Angel Gutiérrez. She provides her perspective on Domingo García's campaigns for Dallas mayor and for state representative, assails his attempt to contest her election to the DCCCD board of trustees based on false allegations of voter's fraud surrounding a Dallas Housing Authority's senior citizen's residence, and alleges García fraudently defeated her in the election race for his seat in the House of Representatives. She discusses her work with the DCCCD board of trustees in opening up enrollment to undocumented students and the attitudes of fellow board members, particularly Bob [sic, Don] Buccholz, Patti Powell, and J. D. Hall. She talks about her job with the Center for Human Rights, organizing the March for Amnesty, and her boss, Paul Kerr, who was active in Proyecto Adelante. She mentions her success with the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project and Domingo García's abuse of that organization. She cites problems with city councilman John Wiley Price and the presence of armed Black Panther Party members at Dallas Independent School District meetings, and comments on the formation of the Hispanic Leadership Forum (HLF) to deal with the tensions between African-Americans and Hispanics in Dallas. She bemoans the embezzlement of DISD funds by superintendent Yvonne Gonzalez and laments the failure of Gonzalez' Hispanic replacement. She relates her role in People United for Representation and Equality (PURE) and the creation of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the role of both organizations to deal with redistricting after the 2000 U.S. Census. She concludes with comments on Laura Miller as a potential candidate in an upcoming Dallas mayoral race and provides statistics on the success of her work for Hispanics within the DCCCD.

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